Farmscape for March 30, 2011
The president of the Canadian Pork Council is hoping the matter of free trade discussions involving Canada and the Republic of Korea won't get pushed to the background by the federal election.
Earlier this month the Canadian Pork Council, Canada Pork International and the Canadian Meat Council sent a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper urging him to become directly involved in getting free trade discussions between Canada and the Republic of Korea back underway.
The letter points out, while free trade negotiations between Canada and South Korea have been stuck in neutral for more than two years, Korea has concluded agreements with other trading partners.
Canadian Pork Council president Jurgen Preugschas notes South Korea is Canada's fourth largest pork export market, it's a high value market, a growing market and with the signing of free trade agreements involving South Korea, the U.S. and the EU, if we don't get a deal done it'll virtually shut the Canadian pork industry out of that market.
Clip-Jurgen Preugschas-Canadian Pork Council:
We were very pleased that agricultural trade made it into the budget.
We were disappointed that of all of the countries named South Korea was left out of it but some of the other countries that are important were named.
That's a positive but also a message, I guess, that South Korea isn't one of the important factors for them and that's disturbing.
We keep getting told that it's dependent on a couple of things.
One, certainly the auto sector has been negative on it and also the settlement of the dispute with the access due to BSE with Korea and there's a WTO action on that.
As I understand, these are some of the holdups.
Preugschas says the pork industry believes it's a political decision to move forward and we need some leadership that is willing to move forward and restart these negotiations so it doesn't totally kill our industry.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork Council